Nambu Solves Twitter Clutter



The great thing about Twitter is that there are a million different ways to both access and contribute to the content being shared there. The bad thing about Twitter is that there are a million different ways to both access and contribute to the content being shared there.

Nambu is a native OS X application for Twitter that packs advanced features with a slick user interface to help you make some sense out of all that control. Its latest release adds a couple of additional tricks on the search front by integrating continuously updated results from FriendFeed, OneRiot and Yahoo! News.

The Problem

I don’t know how many different tools for Twitter are available at the moment, but I’m sure that by the time I finish writing this, two new ones will have been released. For a while, my own improvised solution included Twitterrific, RSS feeds, MicroPlaza for meme tracking of external links, TwitterSpy via Adium for search tracking, Safari 140, and Newsfire for posting, and Growl for desktop notifications.

While my system worked well enough, it was nevertheless a pain to manage, especially across multiple machines. What I really wanted was a single, easy-to-manage application that would still provide the kind of fine control over the content that I was able to achieve with the convoluted solution above.

A Solution

Though still in beta, Nambu already offers a healthy set of features aimed at the advanced user. With support for multiple accounts and groups, you can organize those you’re following in a way that makes sense. Personally, I use accounts as a way to bring together users based on the level of quality in their posts and then, within each account, group users based on the type of content shared.

Nambu account and group management screen

With search and trends functionality built in, you can quickly adjust a filter to return content of short-term interest for conferences like WWDC or for watching the buildup of mass hysteria over things like swine flu. Search results appear in a continuously updating stream and can be filtered by keyword or service.

Nambu search window

Maybe the best thing about all this advanced user goodness is that it’s all wrapped up in a nice Cocoa package. If you’ve been stuck using janky Adobe Air applications, the slick user interface of Nambu will be a welcome respite. There are plenty of nice little touches like multiple visual layout options, control over Growl notifications for each account, visually threading @replies to make following conversations easier, and the ability to quickly jump to specific user windows.


Bottom Line

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. Nambu still has a fair amount of work to do in the stability department as the application crashes more often than it should. The latest version (1.2) does seem more stable, but I’ve only been able to test it for the better part of a day. There is some talk from the developers about more fully featured support for FriendFeed and Facebook, but at the moment, those account options remain disabled. To be fair, it is still in beta, and I would expect the stability and feature set to improve as the application moves closer to a final version.

All in all, it’s the most full-featured native OS X Twitter client I’ve come across, though I still need to have a look at the two new ones that were released while I was writing this post. Do you have a favorite Twitter client of your own, or a custom built solution you want to share? Tell us about your approach in the comments or drop me a line on Twitter @BryanSchuetz.



Nambu’s been my favorite so far (modest usage), but frustrated by immaturity (not mine, nambu’s). In any case, trying tweetie for a bit.


Nambu was my client of choice before switching to Tweetie.

I do still like Nambu, but prefer the clean, minimal look of Tweetie. If you learn the keyboard shortcuts as well, it’s even more of a joy to use. So intuitive.

So for me, Tweetie (Mac) + Tweetie (iPhone) + ‘Post with Tweetie’ bookmarklet is the perfect solution.

Bryan Schuetz

I agree with everyones comments about Tweetie, as far as fit and finish of design goes I think it’s ahead of the pack when it comes to twitter clients. To be fair to the Nambu folks though their product is still in Beta so hopefully they will tighten those nuts bolts before release.

My big hope for Nambu is really the FriendFeed integration as Twitter and FF are really my two favorite networks.

@Joey I’ll try to do a better job of including requirements on future posts.

Joey Sichol

I really wish TUAW would have a tag showing minimum requirements for the these apps, i.e. this is 10.5.

James Dempsey

You should definitely ask the folks over at TUAW to do that then. If you want to see them here at THE APPLE BLOG, you could post a suggestion in the forums ;)


While I like Nambu a lot, I had to stop using it and go back to TweetDeck. In Nambu link detection completely fails in my grouped columns. Links are live in the ‘friends’ direct feed – but when sorted into columned groups are no longer live, rendering the whole thing useless (especially since cut’n’paste doesn’t really work either). Yes, I mentioned it on their forums.


There’s an Adobe AIR application called Skimmer that lets you view updates from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. It works pretty well.


I have tried Nambu, and back to tweetie. Nambu is super unstable. I got beach ball of death all the time. They need to fix the stability before adding more features.


I lied. Adium is more anemic than I thought, or at least I can’t figure out how to reply or ReTweet…

James Dempsey

TweetDeck is an utter disaster of an application. I hate it. Nambu looks much nicer, offering much the same functionality, but I feel like it still fails as a beautiful and fun app to use.

Tweetie is clearly the best looking app on the Mac. That being said, it doesn’t offer Groups – a near deal-breaker for most Twitter users following a lot of Tweeple.

You might also consider looking into EventBox by The Cosmic Machine. It offers Facebook, Twitter, Digg, RSS, GoogleReader, Flickr, Reddit,, and InstaPaper integration. The Twitter module has Groups in the form of SmartFolders. It offers a single column interface like Twitteriffic, and a two column one with folders on the left similar to Nambu.


You can emulate groups in Tweetie by creating and saving a search such as:

from:user1 OR from:user2


Nambu seemed stable enough and quite good when I used it, but If you only care about your own, basic use, and don’t think Twitter is The Single Most Important Thing in the World ™, the Adium 1.4 beta is just fine.

Ryan Gonzalez

Tweetie is so simple and elegant; it doesn’t do more than it needs too. On the other hand, Nambu just doesn’t feel as tight, design-wise.

Just not my style.


Version 1.2.1 has seen a tremendous improvement in stability, speed and a reduced use of resources. The rebuilt much of it and it shows.


I’m so glad to read your opinion about Nambu. I’ve joined Twitter just a couple of weeks ago, and Nambu is my favorite desktop application. I’ve experimented with 4 other apps, but nothing compares to Nambu. Contrary to your experience, though, my Nambu has been extremely stable and never crashed once. I use it on 3 different Macs. I’ve also tried a 2-3 of the Adobe Air apps, but I don’t like them. For me, Nambu will be perfect when Facebook is finally activated.

John Ellenich

I’ve used TweetDeck in the beginning, then switched to Nambu, then to Tweetie…

TweetDeck was “meh” because it’s not a native Mac app….

Nambu has a TON of great organization options and is better at getting stuff done and keeping it organized.

Tweeitie is just beautiful and a joy to use. It’s UI is a lot of fun.

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